The government of Botswana initiated the Pandamatenga Silos project at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in a bid to address the national food security concerns and boost agro-production.
According to the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lonely Mogara, the project expected to be completed in August this year having commenced in March of 2020, and currently at a 97% completion status, at an approved budget of P180 million.
Mogara further told The Ngami Times that the scope of the project comprises of 12 modern steel grain silos with an overall storage capacity of 60,000 metric tons, which will augment current limited capacity of 30,000 metric tons.
“The main constituents of the project covered the construction of 12 x 5000 Metric Tonnes modern type steel fabricated silos, trucks weighbridge, control room, drainage system and electricity upgrade,” Mogara revealed.
Pandamatenga is acknowledged as the hub of arable farming in the country; and zoned as an integrated Agropolis with opportunities for investment in agro-production of cereals, legumes, oil seeds as well as fruits and vegetables.
Mogara further said that they identified lack of storage for produce as one of the key impediments to the growth of the Pandamatenga Special Economic Zone.
According to him, the increased silo capacity will remove production bottlenecks with more produce expected from the farms as a result of the intervention. Mogara has further stated that the project will also enable division of the silos for storage of various crops, among them sorghum, maize, wheat and sunflower.
He added that the modern facilities will enhance both the efficacy and efficiency of grain management and motivate farmers to produce more food, thus contributing towards poverty eradication and ensuring food security.
“The Panda Silos project is very integral to the Agro-Zambezi Commercial Development Project, the irrigation scheme will enable farmers to substantially increase their yield by producing crops throughout the year,” he said.
Meanwhile Pandamatenga Famers Association Chairman Jaco Strachan has appreciated government move to increase the storage for their produce, adding that the existing limited storage has been a major challenge to ther production bulk delivery.
He said with the increased storage capacity, the farmers will have the capacity to produce, store and deliver more in bulk.
“In the past when we experienced a good season with bumper crop harvest there was not enough storage. Sorghum and grain has to be moved to other branches but with the additional silos there will definitely be enough storage,’ he said.
He stated that the country will benefit from the project, as it will address the eminent challenge of food security which remains a global challenge.